By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Part of the job of every healthcare provider is to be an effective educator—informing, teaching and sometimes persuading patients about getting healthy and staying healthy. We’re talking about what you do, or can do, that’s above and beyond the traditional “informed consent” and elementary “patient education.”
Take this instructional idea a step further: Hold classes for patients and promote the calendar of events via your enewsletter. The payoff is in wellness and healthy living for patients, increased goodwill and patient satisfaction…and additional revenue.
Many hospitals, health systems and medical plans are aggressive with their educational outreach, offering lectures, health fairs, patient classes and the like. But this concept isn’t limited to big budgets or the larger healthcare entities. Solo practitioners, dentists, family practices, physician groups and specialty practices have much to offer and much to gain.
Here’s a quick real-life example from the retail world that illustrates the marketing principle. HSS Co-Founder Stewart Gandolf—a healthy-living advocate—recently purchased rollerblades at REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), the outdoor sporting goods cooperative near his home.
It turns out that REI had his membership number on file, but not his email address, which he gave them to update the records. With permission, REI sent Stewart their extensive list of classes, and as a result, he signed up for a nature digital photography class.
Stewart reports that, as an REI member (customer), he was thrilled that they offered so many interesting classes practically in his backyard. In addition to winning goodwill and a positive recommendation, this company realized additional revenue (and likely more in the future).
Many (if not most) patients are unaware of the full range of services that you have to offer, so there’s no shortage of interesting and informative topics. For example the family practice that provides classes on healthy eating for diabetic-aware patients or medically-supervised weight loss; the urology practice that presents a series about sensitive Men’s Health issues; and healthy skin and beauty sessions for women at a medispa.
What’s more, you can widen the appeal and drawing power by offering classes on many subjects. (The REI email Calendar of Events sent to Stewart listed dates, times and a two-sentence description for nearly 50 upcoming events…virtually all free and all at his neighborhood store location.)
A bonus here is that patients and prospective patients will be more inclined to attend events when it’s open to include their spouse, family member or friend. Further, classes position you and your practice as an authority and as a continuing resource for the community.
There’s more about capturing permission-based email addresses in this related article. And if you like to brainstorm a bit about your overall healthcare marketing plan with Stewart or one of our marketing executives, connect with us here.